Walgreens back in the long-term care market, sort of

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With more vendors targeting the hospice market, two drug giants appear ready to face off. Walgreens left the institutional-pharmacy business in 2010, of which hospice pharmacy is a part, in a deal with Omnicare. Walgreens traded the unit for Omnicare's home-infusion business. Since then, Omnicare has been the market leader for hospice drugs. So why the strategy change for Walgreens? One reason is that hospice remains a largely fragmented market. It also isn't dominated by pharmacy benefit managers. Walgreens sees these factors as key advantages as it attempts to resettle in this part the long-term care sector. By some estimates, the institutional pharmacy market — including skilled care, hospice and assisted living — is currently worth about $14 billion a year.